Glutened at Daycare, WWYD? — The Bump
Food Allergy

Glutened at Daycare, WWYD?

So C has been gluten free since day 1, as am I.  Daycare, one of the owners and all of C's teachers that I could get to, have all known this and it's written on her lunch box, just in case.  I send in snacks that are safe for her but similar to what the other kids get (animal crackers, cheerios, etc).  They live either in her classroom or in her cubby and are marked with her name on them.  She's 18 months and has been there since she was 10 weeks old.  I have never had a problem.  We did test her once and she got a horrible skin rash and it made her eczema worse on top of it. 

Today I went to pick her up and the other owner is there, trying to take C from her teacher who has to leave.  A little bribery of a cracker was offered, which I don't mind in theory.  It was fine until this woman came back with a graham cracker!  I said, "No!  That's a gluten cracker!" wicked loudly and probably looked like an idiot, but she pulled it back and I went to where I know they keep C's stash and got her a cookie.  This woman then looked at me and asked if ritz and saltines were also gluten crackers.  Um...yes!  Now I'm wondering if this is the root cause of C's eczema that won't go away.  If she's getting it in little bits at daycare it could totally be irritating things without necessarily giving her a full reaction.  I'm so mad and disappointed. 

I have to say something to this woman tomorrow morning when I drop C off, and I have no idea where to start.  I was thinking of going in and apologizing for being so short, but how often does that happen?  She really can't have it, and I need to make that clear, but I hate confrontation.  Ugh.  Any ideas?

Married DH 7/30/11

CSC arrived 5/7/12 

CHC arrived 6/2/14

Re: Glutened at Daycare, WWYD?

  • Be strong and say it. It's a huge deal, a deal breaker for us. You can say it nicely and get your point across.
  • I'm guessing this person was scanning ingredients looking for gluten instead of wheat, rye, barley, malt, and all the other names it hides under. Therefore, I would change their notes from being no gluten to no wheat etc since that is how they appear on ingredient lists and/or give them a list of safe foods and tell them she cannot have anything not on that list without checking with you first.  If that doesn't prevent future incidents, then take action including changing daycares.

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  • Also, do they have notes that your LO (and any others with food allergies/intolerances) can't have certain items posted by the foods?  If not, I would insist that it be posted there as a reminder for all staff members.

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  • They do have notes, and this woman has a daughter who's gluten free so she knows darn well what to look for.  I brought it up firmly and she apologized profusely.  She was flustered and C was crying and she was just looking to make it better, and she forgot.  I stressed that while I can understand that, I get stressed too, she cannot forget, ever.  I showed her where the classroom teachers keep C's stash of gluten free crackers/cereal/cookies that I send in (love that I know where they are and the owner doesn't, ah well).  We'll see how it goes, but strike two will probably be the last strike.

    Married DH 7/30/11

    CSC arrived 5/7/12 

    CHC arrived 6/2/14

  • The fact that her dd is GF does change things.  Why is she running a daycare if crying children fluster her to the point that she'd ignore food safety?

    The one time ds1's daycare gave him a full 8 ounce bottle of milk even though he had a dr note instructing no milk the staff member that gave him the milk was fired as soon as I reported it to the director so I didn't have questions/issues with keeping him there. But since you're dealing with a director/owner and not a staff member so it may be wise to start looking for a different daycare just in case.

    Do they write out everything she eats there?  Just thinking that may help identify if she is being given gluten containing foods.

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  • This is one of my biggest fears I'm only three months pregnant and I'm afraid that my baby will have to be gluten free, it's so difficult for people to understand and if the baby has the same issues as me will get extremely ill as I do. Please let me know what happened. I'm so sorry that is happening to you and your baby.
  • @courtman14, so far things seem to be fine. The woman who made the mistake is rarely in charge of getting C food and after our talk I doubt she will forget again.  There are notes on all of C's papers and on her lunch bag. I take in cereals/cookies that she can eat so she gets those instead of the snacks they give everyone else.  Once she has come home with a rash that looks gluteny and I spoke with the teachers about it right away. They think she stole a snack from another child, which I can understand as it's hard to watch a child all the time everyday.  We talked about ways for them to make sure she has less of a chance to do this (making sure all the kids are sitting while they eat, putting her at the head of the table so she's a little further away without being secluded, etc).  This is new for all of them and they are great about working with me when an issue comes up, and some of the issues are as much my learning as they are theirs. 

    I know there are daycares out there that are more experienced with this sort of thing, I have a friend who's little girl goes to one. I didn't like that center for numerous other reasons, so I chose to help the center I did like learn and grow.  So far it's working out, and it means when my second baby comes along in June, they will already know how to deal with it.  It's a calculated risk I chose to take and so far, other than the one mistake above, they are doing very well and we're very happy there. 

    Above the food is also thinking of things like play-dough.  Commercial play-dough is not gluten free, and they use it at daycare.  I had to make the choice to either buy/make my own gf version, or ask them to make sure she doesn't eat any and to wash her hands well with soap and water after she plays with it.  I chose the latter, and so far that's been working out well.  It's a learning curve for both parties, as I wasn't dealing with my gluten allergy when I was C's age. 

    Married DH 7/30/11

    CSC arrived 5/7/12 

    CHC arrived 6/2/14

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